Category Archives: Dioxane

The 3d Ann Arbor Civic Tech meetup – a writeup

We had a good time and a lively discussion at the 3d Ann Arbor Civic Technology meetup. There were about 18 people in attendance, including the City of Ann Arbor CFO/CIO, the webmaster from Washtenaw County, several U of Michigan SI students, some townies, a fellow who drove down from Lansing who had organized Code Michigan hackathon, and a number of folks who were drawn in from Meetup. (who did I miss)

After everyone introduced themselves we did a few rounds of discussion of the projects that people were working on with public data as well as some talk about data that wasn’t available in easy formats. Projects included

  • the detailed data from the 1,4 Dioxane plume that is spreading under Ann Arbor
  • traffic crash facts and accident reports to inform pedestrian safety discussions
  • estimating rental property utility costs from crowdsourced data
  • liberating restaurant inspections from proprietary databases
  • data about dangerous buildings and nuisance properties
  • adopt-a-storm-drain
  • report from a “data dive” that looked at non-profit data in a hackathon
  • (what did I miss)

Not all of these projects were actively in development (several were “gee wouldn’t be nice if”) and there was not one single effort that everyone focused on. Instead it was a healthy back and forth about a lot of possible directions.

We started at 7p and ended at 830p, and people stayed around talking until 9p. I’m happy with the turnout and with the people who showed up, and am hopeful that the next meeting (in January) will be as well received. We had an offer to host it in a Washtenaw County facility for the next event.


March 22 is World Water Day; tracking the Ann Arbor dioxane plume toward the Huron River

March 22 is World Water Day. The 2011 theme is Water for Cities: Responding to the Urban Challenge. The Ann Arbor District Library is hosting a 7:00 p.m. panel "Our Water, Our Future", with Mike Wiley from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment hosting.

A recording of the event is available for viewing or download at the Ann Abor District Library.

In Ann Arbor, the slow-moving but inexorable urban water supply problem is the spread of a dioxane plume towards the Huron River and the City of Ann Arbor's drinking water supply source at Barton Pond. The map below shows the newly expanded zone in which wells are prohibited in Ann Arbor because of this plume, which originated at the former Gelman Sciences facility on Wagner Road in Scio Township. Pall Life Sciences now operates the cleanup at this facility; it's part of Pall Corporation (NYSE: PLL).


Monitoring wells are tracking the spread of the plume. Scio Residents for Safe Water is monitoring the monitoring operation, and Roger Rayle has produced a series of maps illustrating the issues. This image depicts contamination levels as measured with 2009 data.

image from

The contamination began in the 1960s, when medical filter manufacturer Gelman Sciences began pumping industrial wastewater into lagoons on the site on Wagner Road. Cleanup began in the 1980s. Many details, including legal agreements and monitoring data, are found at the Michigan DEQ Gelman Sciences information page.

Previously: Goodspeed Update (2004);  Dioxane plume FAQ (2006); Scio Residents for Safe Water (2008); "Concerns raised over dioxane cleanup", Ann Arbor Chronicle (2009).

Edward Vielmetti writes the Vacuum weblog, since 1999.

Editor's note: link to video recording of panel added 3/25/11.

Dioxane plume FAQ (Gelman / Pall Life Sciences) and map

The City of Ann Arbor has an FAQ on the Gelman dioxane plume heading towards the Huron River:

1) Where is the groundwater contamination?

The contaminated groundwater exists in several aquifers beneath the west side of Ann Arbor and Scio Township. For a map of the groundwater contamination, see

2) What is the extent of the groundwater contamination?

Several aquifers have been contaminated. The unit E aquifer represents the largest local water body known to be contaminated with 1,4 dioxane. The contamination of this aquifer is known to extend east and north from the PLS Wagner Road facility, beneath the city of Ann Arbor. As of Jan 2004, the leading edge of the plume is thought to extend just to the east of the municipal drinking water well [closed] on Montgomery Street. The approximate dimensions of the ‘plume’, or contaminated area, are: 8500 feet long, 2000 feet wide.

The map, and a bunch of supporting information about the history of this pollution, is provided by Scio Residents for Safe Water.

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Protect our Neighborhoods, Ann Arbor Pall/Gellman dioxane cleanup neighborhood advocacy group

Jill Peek writes:

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I have been attending the recent meetings on the Pall Life Sciences and DEQ proposals for 1.4 Dioxane clean-up in the Unit E aquifer. Because of the potential high impact on neighborhoods and questions of efficacy, a group of residents have written a position statement urging more aggressive clean-up at the plume source and high concentration areas up to and including Maple Village rather than neighborhoods inside the city. The DEQ is accepting public comments through tomorrow, August 16. If you would like to make a public comment which will be considered by the DEQ before their presentation to final court hearing in early September, please send your email to Sybil Kolon at the DEQ:

If you would like to read more on this issue, please go to

Jill Peek

—————————- Original Message
—————————- Subject: Protect Our Neighborhoods! Re: Pall
Dioxane Cleanup
From: “Jeffrey Hutsler”
Date: Thu, August 12, 2004 5:52 pm

Dear neighbors,

Welcome to the inaugural email of PROTECT OUR NEIGHBORHOODS!

We are a group of local residents who intend to pursue an active and
aggressive agenda to inform the community, agencies and political leaders
of the position of our neighborhoods regarding PLS/Gelman dioxane
contamination and remediation, specifically the “leading edge”.
We will work to build an extensive contact list and hold those
contacted accountable for their support (or lack thereof).

Plans for this activism include activity in a variety of areas. Our next
email will provide an “ACTION ALERT” base letter that can be used to
comment to MDEQ during the public comment period concluding this Monday,
August 16. As with all “ACTION ALERT” emails distributed, we will focus
on a coordinated response and provide extensive contact information for
groups, agencies, political leaders and media. PROTECT OUR
NEIGHBORHOODS! will work to personally connect with political leaders, as
has begun, and seek their involvement and support as well. A website is

We believe that our position statement addresses a common concern and
works in concert with many of the ideas and goals we have heard and
experienced within the community.


PROTECT OUR NEIGHBORHOODS! is a group of local residents within the
neighborhoods that will be affected by the current clean-up plans. We are
a political activist group dedicated to the preservation and
protection of the health and welfare of our neighborhoods and families.
Our primary goal is to ensure that any remedial alternative instituted in
our neighborhoods is maximally safe, effective and beneficial to all
residents. We believe it is unreasonable and unacceptable to expect the
residential neighborhoods to bear the burden and risks for a problem that
has been allowed to proliferate over the course of several
decades. We currently oppose the MDEQ-proposed leading edge pipeline and
well network because:

1) Pumping a known carcinogen with potentially harmful reproductive
effects from deep underground to within a few feet of the surface within
a residential area is hazardous to the health and welfare of our
2) We are not convinced that the integrity of the pipeline system that
would carry this carcinogen could be adequately guaranteed (i.e. leaks,
breakdowns, etc).
3) The scientific basis for “leading edge” remediation is questionable,
especially within a highly populated residential area.
4) Similar “leading edge” solutions already utilized in the Evergreen
neighborhood have been largely ineffective.
5) It does not make sense to extract dioxane within neighborhoods that
are distant from the original site of contamination when the core areas
and adjacent regions have not been successfully addressed.
6) We categorically oppose the loss of private property owners’ rights as
part of any remedial alternative.

We will make every attempt to send emails containing specific
information when most necessary and useful. Obviously, contact will be
made more frequently within the next few weeks

Please consider forwarding this information to your family members,
friends and neighbors. One of our goals, as stated above, is to create
an extensive contact list as quickly as possible. Interested neighbors
simply need to email to be added to the mailing list.
We will provide an update on the success of this campaign to you within
the next few days.

Thank you for your support of our families and neighborhoods!
Jeff Hutsler
Chris O’Brien
Mike Romatowski

PROTECT OUR NEIGHBORHOODS! is not associated with Pall Life Sciences,
Inc, The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality or any other agency
or group. is a moderated list. All emails sent to the address are reviewed prior to being forwarded to the
individual members. We greatly appreciate your involvement, but one may
unsubscribe by simply sending an email to with
“unsubscribe” in the subject line.